Jun 16, 2013

Question to you: Which is the most viewed picture in history?


This blog post is supposed to have a picture in it, but intentionally, I had decided not to embed it and let the curiosity of the reader go up. So tell me something, How famous was that Monalisa picture? How many of us has seen it? Many of us, don't we? Few months ago, my curiosity got me into looking for the most "liked" photograph of all time, and published my search results as a blog post. But then again, I had something else in mind today - which is the "most viewed" irrespective of how incredible (or terrible) the the viewer found it. I am not limiting the discussion to social media content like Youtube views or twitter RT's or facebook LIKE's. I am considering all human boundaries here, including the smallest of villages of countries that you don't even know existed.

This could get really really interesting if you start to think of the answer. It is the sole reason this blog doesn't directly display the picture. So start making some guesses. What picture could've been seen the most on a landmass so diverse and huge as our planet?  Think for a moment and then read the next paragraph of this post. 

Alrite, did you really think? 99% of the readers won't. Good job there but at least at the blink of the moment, I am sure you would have thought about something, don't you? Let the suspense roll on. So there was this guy named Charles O'Rear, in 1998 who was driving one fine day on the side of the 12/121 highway. He was somewhere near Napa Valley in California, as he witnessed a green, lush hillside. An ardent photographer that he is, O'Rear took little time to stop by, take out his hand-held medium-format Mamiya RZ67 camera and clicked it. He submitted the picture to his company, Corbis, which is known for "stocking" photos and selling them online. The CEO of Corbis was also the founder of another famous company which you will get to see soon.
The camera that O'rear used for taking the "most seen" photograph
Guessed it yet? Have something in mind what it could be? It is an image that you have definitely seen before. I have seen it. All your classmates and colleagues have too. It is possibly the "most familiar photograph" ever known to mankind, as O'Rear himself put it,
"All the folks I talk with agree it is the most 'recognizable' photo ever. If it were shown to a villager in rural China, for example, good chance they would recognize it. If it were shown to astronauts on the ISS, good bet they would know it, too. I have seen it appear in photos of the White House situation room, the Kremlin, etc."
Alrite, I had built it up already, far too long, and by now, I had lost some 30% of my readers before this point. For the remaining 70%, here you go: click the below link to see it.

Click to see the most familiar picture known to man

Got it? It's Microsoft that picked O'Rear's image for its new operating system code named Windows XP in 2002. Microsoft's payment for the rights to the photo was "reportedly the second most expensive photo licence ever purchased" and O'Rear said the amount is "extraordinary". Microsoft named the image as Bliss  and used it as the default wallpaper for its OS, and as we all know how XP went into the nook and corner world-wide, this picture had convincingly become the most viewed. There is no real statistic but logically, there is no other pic I could recollect that reached as much as this did. And Bill Gates is also the CEO of Corbis, the photo stocking company that O'Rear worked for! It was an agreement that he will never disclose how much money he got for that picture. It is a raw, unedited photograph that directly went into Windows XP. That's why you find that wall paper a little dull and dim than the other bright edited photographs that you see.

Agree now? If you know of a much more famous familiar pic, I would like to see you write a comment  about it here.

3 comments:

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